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Tuesday 23-May-2017
【The Standard:School expert advise】We've come a long way

Since 2014, some 5,000 candidates have taken the UKiset test to support their admission into the UK independent education system.

This milestone reminds us at Britannia StudyLink, Hong Kong's biggest UKiset test center, just how far schools have come since the days of internal testing systems and the blood, sweat and tears a school's internal staff had to endure.

It used to be the case that schools devised their own systems for assessing applicants based on their knowledge of the British curriculum.

Not only was this laborious for a school's members of staff, but it was also painstaking for candidates and families to wait a great deal of time to find out the fate of the applicant.

In addition to these drawbacks, increased competition for limited places led to a greater need for schools to determine the qualities of individual applicants.

In 2014, UKiset stepped in to steady the ship with an adaptive online entry test to check an applicant's academic potential and English language level, schools breathed a sigh of relief in that they could eliminate paperwork and make enrollment decisions more quickly.

UKiset has also brought innumerable benefits to families and candidates. Firstly, there is less pressure on applicants to become overburdened with overpreparing for entry tests.

Sample papers are not available so there is only so much an applicant can do to improve their mathematics, verbal and non-verbal skills (three of the four tested areas). Candidates are best-advised to work on their English skills.

A second benefit of UKiset is the fact that results are available two business days after the applicant has completed the test.

Most candidates take UKiset in order to apply to a British independent school but the test is extremely flexible in that it also enables students to enter language schools.

The test also has intrinsic advantages in that some applicants want to check their own levels of knowledge and to compare themselves with British students of the same age.

On UKiset's wide-ranging capacities, Britannia StudyLink managing director Samuel Chan said: "UKiset is not only for entry to schools but it also helps students and teachers to check knowledge, set targets and plan for the future. It's universality sometimes goes under the radar."

Overall, UKiset is here to stay but who is to say down the line that it won't begin to analyze an applicant's transferable skills, such as attitudes to learning, when competition for places at top schools will only intensify.

 

Mabel Chan is a principal consultant at Britannia StudyLink.

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Original article: http://www.thestandard.com.hk/section-news.php?id=183140&fc=3

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Education Experts

Samuel Chan, the winner of Alumni Awards 2017, is the founder of Britannia. He had studied in the UK since the age of 9 for 15 years and achieved his master degree in International Political Economy at University of Warwick. Now he shares his experiences and professional advice in education columns in Hong Kong’s major newspapers.

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Mabel Chan is the Principal Consultant of Britannia. Having studied in both the UK and the US, she is an expert in school matching for overseas education. She writes education columns for Sing Tao Daily and The Standard, and answers questions arising from parents and students patiently.

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MB Cheung, our senior consultant, has been writing education columns for major local newspapers for more than 25 years. With his experience and unique insights, he shares a variety of tips and advice on overseas education for the readers (and DSE students)

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